“Victor, you didn’t invite Adam over again, darling?”

“Of course I did. Why wouldn’t I?”

“Honestly, darling, he’s just awful. We’re getting a reputation. No one will come to our dinner parties if you keep asking him over.”

“But whatever is the matter? He’s well-read, a fine speaker, mannered, very polite.”

“He’s polite until someone lights a cigar after their meal. Then he’s throwing people into the koi pond.”

“I don’t understand why you don’t like him.”

“Darling, he’s hideous.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, he’s…well, he’s disfigured.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t say he’s disfigured.”

“Whatever are you saying, Victor? Of course he is. Just look at him. He has bolts in his neck.”

“No, no, obviously he is disfigured. I just wouldn’t say it. It’s rude. At any rate, he’s no worse than some of your friends.”

“Victor! What a thing to say!”

“Well, it’s true.”

“Like who?”

“Oh, for example, that horrid Rebecca von Friesendorf.”

“What’s wrong with Rebecca?”

“She wears too much perfume. And she’s a terrible bore. And once she spilled tea on our linen tablecloth and tried to hide it by angling a spoon, just so.”

“I suppose she may not present one with the most scintillating after-dinner conversation…”

“Ah, ha! You see?”

“…but then again, she isn’t assembled out of the corpses of vagabonds.”

“We don’t know that for sure.”

“Victor. Please.”

“You don’t understand, darling. I know he can be a chore, but…well, the fact is, I feel a certain responsibility to him. I can’t just bustle him out of my life. When I was young, I made him.”

“Darling, when I was two, I made a mess in my pants, but you don’t see me inviting it to dinner.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“Simply disinvite him!”

“I can’t. I haven’t the heart.”

“Can’t you think of some excuse?”

“Hmmmm…what are we having for main course?”

“Cornish hen.”

“That’s it?”

“Well, it’s a full course, but…”

“Is there electricity on the menu”

“The market was fresh out.”

“Well, then. That’s his favorite. I suppose he won’t be too keen to come now.”

“You’re a darling, Victor.”


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